Anyone who saw Danny Gray's 76-yard touchdown pass from Trey Lance in the San Francisco 49ers' preseason opener should keep an eye on the rookie receiver in fantasy drafts.
The Athletic's David Lombardi noted Gray could be a "dark-horse fantasy contributor" this season because of his speed and Lance's big arm strength that should open up the passing game for the offense.
Lined up one-on-one against Green Bay Packers safety Dallin Leavitt, Gray just ran right past him for an easy score in the Niners' 28-21 win on Aug. 12.
TREY AREAAAAAAAAAAA.<a href="https://twitter.com/treylance09?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@treylance09</a> goes UP TOP to the rookie burner, <a href="https://twitter.com/DGray_5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DGray_5</a>! SIX!<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GBvsSF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GBvsSF</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> (check local listings)<br>📱: Stream on NFL+ <a href="https://t.co/IPaxU4rWJN">https://t.co/IPaxU4rWJN</a> <a href="https://t.co/dKC8ov5eS0">pic.twitter.com/dKC8ov5eS0</a>
For those who aren't 49ers fans, this has been a fairly common occurrence throughout training camp and the preseason. The two hooked up for a long touchdown in a joint practice last week against the Minnesota Vikings when Gray got behind the defense.
The 49ers do have a crowded receiver room heading into the regular season. Deebo Samuel is the unquestioned No. 1 option. He was given a three-year, $73.5 million contract last month after setting career-highs with 1,405 receiving yards, 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns.
Brandon Aiyuk, like Gray, appears to have a good rapport with Lance already. They have worked out together during the offseason in each of the past two years.
Jauan Jennings came on strong at the end of last season with at least five targets in four of the final five games, including a career-high six catches and 94 yards in Week 18 against the Los Angeles Rams.
George Kittle is also going to receive a lot of targets at the tight end position.
Samuel, Aiyuk and Kittle are at their best when they can create after the catch.
Gray is an excellent complement to those playmakers because he has speed to take the top off opposing defenses. The third-round pick out of SMU won the Texas state championship in the 100-meter dash as a high-schooler in 2017. His 40-yard at the NFL scouting combine in March was 4.33 seconds, tied for the sixth-fastest among all players.
There are likely going to be some growing pains for Lance in his first full season as San Francisco's starting quarterback. But his arm strength and ability to create big plays opens up a world of opportunities for head coach Kyle Shanahan that haven't been available because of Jimmy Garoppolo's style.
Even in a loaded offense with outstanding playmakers across the board, Gray could receive a lot of targets if the speed he's shown off during the preseason translates to regular-season games.